We Love Silicone Baking Mats
Before silicone baking mats, every baker in the world had the catastrophe of having almost perfect cookies stick to a baking sheet. Even with parchment paper, food would sometimes stay stuck to the sheet, causing untold angst. Sometimes greasing a pan would help, but having butter or oil bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees could bring new problems.
Silicone baking mats were brought to the market in 1892 by a French company called Silpat. Silpat is still one of the market leaders when it comes to silicone mats but other manufacturers have taken the idea and created new uses for the baking mats.
The purpose of a silicone baking mat is to act as a barrier between food and a baking sheet. Silicone is a versatile material. It not only resists heat, it helps disperse heat even across the mat. Sticking is not longer an issue as silicone is a non-stick surface. Even the stickiest of foods will come off a silicone baking mat easily..
The Cost Of Silicone Baking Sheets
Prices of silicone mats have dropped dramatically over the last ten years. When first introduced in 1982, a single mat could cost up to $30. Today, you can easily find a set of two mats for under $16. Using silicone mats is also less expensive than using parchment paper. Parchment paper costs about $5 per roll and is a single use product. Bake one pan of cookies and the parchment is used up, you need a fresh sheet. Because you can use silicone baking mats over and over, the cost per use will continue to go down.
Most manufacturers state that their silicone mats will last two to three years. This will depend on your usage, but tests have shown that, even with heavy use, a good quality silicone mat will work properly for about 100 baking sessions.
Specialized Silicone Mats
Recently, some of the manufacturers have become creative and have developed specialized mats for bakers. One new creation are dough rolling silicone baking mats. These heavy silicone mats have outlines imprinted to help you roll out the perfect size dough you are going to bake. Also called pastry mats, they are great for pie crusts and bread recipes.
Another useful custom feature for silicone mats are those sheets designed for baking cookies. Any baker will tell you that they have often placed their cookies too close together and ended up with a mass of cookie instead of individual cookies. Using a silicone sheet designed for cookie baking, you know exactly where to place the dough ball.
Stuck food is not longer a problem when baking! Baking mats made from non-stick silicone have eliminated the problem of food refusing to come off of the pan.